She sat in the restaurant with a rather stern look, accompanied by another individual. I braced myself and sat down. Who ever said that job interviews were easy? She asked question after question, covering a myriad of topics. The rather stern look rarely left her face but through the hour plus interview, one could easily detect her commitment and dedication to the organization for which I was about to begin working.
So was my first encounter with Ann Hight. During my next 6 ½ years that I served as Executive Director of Women At Work, I saw that stern look on Ann’s face many a time, knowing though that it reflected her support for women in need and to ensure that the organization continued empowering women to reach their full potential.
By the time I came into the position Ann had already served her term as President of the Board; her legacy was in the continuing the organization and working to support it in a myriad of ways. She gave her time, spending many a night in late meetings. She combed over the financials, putting her expertise into place to ensure each dime was rightfully allocated. She hosted countless get-togethers and planning sessions. She dropped everything to sign a check or come to the office to assist.
Two tender memories say much about Ms. Hight. In 2008 she insisted on being on the Real Estate Committee to look for new office space. Frankly, by this time, she was already into her 70’s and easily could have left the job to someone else, but she felt and communicated to us, the need to continue to grow and expand the organization. We traipsed through dozens of buildings. Up the stairs, in through the front door, out the back door, measuring the room size and counting windows. She never tired and she kept going. Then when we finally located the building on Colorado, she showed her true skills – a hard line negotiator, she insisted on the best financial deal for her favorite nonprofit.
The other memory illustrates a much softer side of Ann. Late one afternoon she came into my office to discuss the budget and a few other items, as she served as the Board Treasurer. I noticed she had a cooler with her, the kind you carry soft drinks and picnic treats in. She set it on the floor and we discussed all the items. As the discussion ended she set the cooler on my desk and proceeded to open it. She asked if I had to go home and cook dinner for my family. I said yes. She replied very seriously, “I went to Moffat’s today and I brought dinner for your family. I knew we’d be late so I thought this would make it easier for you.” Yes, I am one of the few souls on the planet who love potpies and these were not just any frozen potpies. These are a true treat.
I remember that incident like it was yesterday and it now more than 5-6 years ago. But the memory remains. It is a testimony to the kindness of Ann Hight and it speaks volumes of her generosity to so many others.
I still think of Ann often, knowing that behind that stern look on the first day I met her, was a heart of caring, compassion and gentleness.
I salute you and thank you, Ms. Hight!